Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Today, in the age of social media, that’s truer than ever. Only it doesn’t take five minutes to ruin a reputation, it only takes five seconds.

Before you have time to hit the “delete” button on that ill-advised tweet, it will have already spread across the internet like wildfire.

So, what can you do to protect your brand’s online reputation? The key is to stay proactive.

What is online reputation management?

Reputation management uses a combination of different tools, like SEO principles and press releases, to create positive content surrounding your brand.

Why is online reputation management important?

You know what they say: You only have one chance to make a first impression. This is true whether you run a Fortune 100 company or a tiny mom and pop. Today’s audience, more than ever before, is going to head online to research your business.

Whatever they find on Google or Yelp or Facebook is going to influence their purchasing decision. If it’s all negative reviews and bad press, they’re likely going to head elsewhere, and surprisingly, having no online presence is almost just as bad. 

Creating an online reputation strategy

There are several steps you can take to help ensure your brand has a positive online reputation. One of the easiest and most important steps is simply to stay active. Add new (quality) content to your website and social media profiles on a regular basis and interact with your audience.

Beyond that, here are a few things you can do:

  • Monitor your brand: There are dozens of online tools that allow you to monitor the internet for mention of your business name or other keywords. Watch what people are saying about you. If something negative pops up, be sure to respond in a timely manner,  whether or not their accusation is true.
  • Earn positive reviews: Positive reviews are the foundation of social proof: They show your audience that other real people have done business with you and enjoyed the process. Encourage your clients to leave you a review in exchange for a job well done and provide them with the tools to do it. A link in an email, a simple form on your website, or a button on social media can make the process 100% easier.
  • Promote yourself. Even the very best content will never get read if no one knows it’s out there. Your blog may be fantastic and your videos educational, but you have to make it easy for people to find them! Share your latest content on social media, send links in your email newsletter, or even try paid ads on Google, Facebook, or another online platform.
  • Use SEO to promote quality content. You may have bad reviews or unfavorable mentions on the media – it happens to even the best of businesses. The key is to make sure you have so much other content, your audience never sees the bad stuff. Writing regular blogs, expanding your social media presence, and partnering with influencers are all examples of SEO tactics that will help you rank for quality content (and get the poor reviews buried).

Managing your online presence takes time and effort, but it’s doable. With a little elbow grease, you can make sure whatever online visitors find is favorable to your brand!

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!